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‘National security paramount’: SC cancels bail granted by Madras HC to 8 PFI members caught with photos of RSS leaders

The evidence used to convict the accused included documents that had been discovered in their possessions, including "pictures with markings" of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders and other Hindu organizations, implying that these individuals were on a "hit list."

On 22nd May, the Supreme Court revoked the bail granted by the Madras High Court to eight men named Barakhatullah, Idris, Mohd Tahir, Khalid Mohammad, Syed Khaja, Mohinudeen, Yasar Arafat and Fayaz Ahmed. who had been charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for belonging to the outlawed Popular Front of India (PFI) and plotting to carry out terrorist attacks around the nation.

The evidence used to convict the accused included documents that had been discovered in their possessions, including “pictures with markings” of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders and other Hindu organizations, implying that these individuals were on a “hit list.”

A vacation bench consisting of Justices Bela M. Trivedi and Pankaj Mithal declared that the court could intervene and cancelled their bail due to the severity of the offense and the short amount of time they had spent behind bars which is just 1.5 years. The court ruled that any terrorist act, no matter how violent or non-violent, is subject to restrictions since national security is always of foremost significance. It stated that the respondents in this matter would not be released on bail in compliance with section 43D(5) of the UAPA Act.

The court pronounced, “Having regard to the gravity of the offence and the only 1.5 years spent in incarceration given the maximum punishment, we are inclined to interfere with HC order granting bail. Courts can interfere with orders granting personal liberty if the same is perverse. The appeals are thus allowed. Trial to be expedited and this order not be construed have not said anything on merits.” It added, “Prima facie a case has been made out in terms of the material placed before us by the agency.”

The Madras High Court’s ruling awarding bail to the eight defendants was being appealed by the National Investigating Agency (NIA) to the court. While granting bail and overturning a special court judgment, the high court expressed the opinion that the special court erred in denying the eight men’s release because the papers gathered by the NIA did not clearly connect any of the men to the accused crimes. The top court had noted that the agency probably assumed that individuals are advocates for the illegal group when their actions are viewed through a “jaundiced eye”.

The NIA had informed the court that the appellants had been found in possession of many documents, including some “pictures with markings” of leaders of the RSS and other Hindu organizations. According to the NIA, PFI’s “vision document” disclosed that its goal was to seize political power and work toward establishing an Islamic kingdom in India by 2047. The agency asserted to have evidence that the Union government had acquired about the PFI’s plot to plan terrorist attacks in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and other Indian states, which is why the perpetrators were taken into custody in September of last year.

The NIA charged that these males had organized a plot to use its “hit squads” to carry out acts of terrorism against groups that they believed to be anti-Islamic. The “hit squads” were to attack, assault, maim, and kill these targets with the goal of causing terror and endangering India’s unity, integrity, security and sovereignty. The appellants filed an appeal with the High Court after a special court denied them bail in January of this year and it granted them bail leading to the petition before the apex court.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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